What Happens If A Dry Cleaner Ruined Your Clothes

What Happens If A Dry Cleaner Ruined Your Clothes

Dry cleaning is one of the most common types of laundry services. You take your clothes to a dry cleaner, and they do all the work for you, so it’s very convenient. But sometimes, mistakes happen to result in shrinkage, tears and holes. Dealing with a clothing disaster is never an enjoyable experience, and it can be a real pain to deal with.

However, there are several instances in which a dry cleaner can be held liable for any damages caused during cleaning. If this happens to you, there are steps you can take to get some compensation. In this article, we will go over the actions you need to take to pursue a claim.


What Happens During the Dry Cleaning Process?

The term dry cleaning is somewhat misleading because a dry cleaning service isn’t, in fact, “dry.” Rather than using laundry soap and water to clean the clothes, dry cleaning uses specially designed solvents to remove soil and stains from fabrics. The dry cleaning industry generally uses perchloroethylene, or PERC, which has become the industry standard due to its efficacy.

One of the benefits of using PERC is its ability to dissolve non-water-soluble types of stains such as oils, butter, and grease. It can also break down many protein-based stains commonly found on clothing, such as urine, blood, vomit, eggs, and meat.

  • Inspection and tagging: Each item is assigned a unique identification number. Paper tags are pinned or stapled to the garment by some cleaners. For regular clients, some prefer an iron-on strip with a permanent barcode. When several soiled garments from numerous customers are cleaned together, the tags ensure that the clothes are returned to the correct owner.

The garments are checked for any items left in pockets, tears, rips, or missing buttons. The articles are returned to the customers, and the issues are noted before cleaning.

  • Pre-treatment: Before the solvent cleaning process, the dry cleaner inspects and treats the clothes for stains. It’s also a good idea to let the cleaner know what caused the stain so they can do the stain removal process as effectively as possible. A qualified cleaner will also remove or cover delicate buttons and trim to avoid any damage.
  • Dry Cleaning: Dirty clothes are put inside a big drum machine and cleaned using a water-free dry cleaning chemical solvent. Soil is loosened by agitating the clothes in the solution. The liquid is drained, filtered to be recycled, and the clothes are rinsed off in fresh solvent until there’s no longer any dirt left on the garment.
  • Post-spotting: The chemical solvent in the dry cleaning procedure aids in the removal of oil-based stains. Other sorts of stains, on the other hand, are not always removed successfully. As a result, all clothing is subjected to spot-checking for any remaining stains. Stains are cleaned with steam, water, or even a vacuum to ensure that no traces remain.
  • Finishing: The last step is to prepare the garment for wearing. Pressing wrinkles, reattaching buttons, and repairs are done in this stage. Clothes are then hung or folded to be returned to the client. The plastic bags supplied are only intended to assist you in transporting your garments without causing any more stains. It’s critical not to leave them on for too long, or else your clothing might be damaged by trapped moisture.

Does Dry Cleaning Ruin Clothes?

Cleaning your clothing is a delicate balance between preserving fabric and removing stains. You don’t want to damage it by wet cleaning and using harsh detergents. Dry cleaners take this into account with their attention-to-detail approach as they treat every garment like its own little work of art while ensuring total customer satisfaction at all times.

They provide an excellent solution if someone has sensitive skin because there are so many precautions taken during each job, ensuring customers won’t have problems later on down the line.

What to Do If a Dry Cleaner Damages Your Clothes?

●     Ascertain who is at fault: You must first figure out who’s to blame. It might be the cleaner or, in rare cases, manufacturers may accidentally include incorrect care instructions on clothes. If that happens, courts can order manufacturers to pay for damaged clothing.

Customers might also be to blame, especially if they provide incorrect cleaning instructions. If that’s the case, the cleaner would not be held responsible for how well any garments have been cared for.

However, the customer may be compensated at a fair market value for the item as an act of goodwill. It makes more economic sense than losing a client.

●     Determine the amount of compensation: It is a consumer’s right to be compensated, especially if the cleaner believes it is their fault. Make sure to provide as much information about the clothing as possible before settling on a resolution. Tell them when you bought the item, how old it is, and the original price.

There are many factors to consider when determining the serviceability of a garment. They can assess how long it will last by looking at the remaining usable life. For example, a dress shirt that is more than 15 years old would be worth significantly less than one that is only two years old and has been worn a few times.

●     Resolve the dispute: You should first determine a fair market value for the clothing and then determine how much you’ll get compensated. You have two options: replacement cost or actual cost.

When determining the value of an item and how much to compensate customers for a mistake, dry cleaners refer to The Fair Claims Guide. As a reference, the directives serve as a guide to textile-related claims.

What Are the Next Steps If I Can’t Resolve the Issue with My Dry Cleaner?

●     File a consumer complaint at a trade association: If the dry cleaner is a member of any trade organisation, you can submit your complaint to them for investigation. If your item was misplaced or damaged due to the dry cleaner’s mistake, they could assist you in obtaining compensation.

Ask the dry cleaner if they are a trade organisation member or look them up on their website to find out.

●     Negotiate an out-of-court settlement: Check to see whether you can utilise ‘alternative dispute resolution’ (ADR) – it’s a method of resolving conflicts outside of court.

Keep a record of the fact and date that you requested them if they don’t respond or won’t use ADR. It can save you time and money if you go to court later on.

Consider making a complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority if you paid by credit or debit card. You can do this if you’re dissatisfied with how the dry cleaner has handled your complaint or if they’ve still not responded after eight weeks.

●     Obtain a test and report from a third party: If you want to resolve a dispute with a dry cleaner, you might hire an independent organisation to examine the situation and generate a report. It might be costly, but the investigation could persuade the dry cleaner to reconsider their decision. If the dry cleaning business still refuses to comply, it may be used as evidence in court.

●     Take the case to court: If you’ve tried the preceding solutions and still haven’t found what you’re looking for, you may pursue your claim in a small claims court.

There’s a time limit for bringing a case to court, which starts when you take the item to the dry cleaner and ends after six years.

 Final Thoughts

When it comes to dry cleaning disasters, the best thing you can do is be proactive. If you have a problem with your clothes caused by a mistake in the process or a dry cleaner error, make sure to take action right away and contact the store immediately.

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of dropping off your clothes at a dry cleaner and coming back to find they were ruined, we can help. At Ad Astra, we do our service with the highest degree of professionalism. You can trust us to take excellent care of your clothes while also providing an affordable price point. Don’t hesitate to contact our helpful team at 08 9381 6688 if you need any more information about our services or want to find out how to help get your wardrobe back into its best condition.